Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Evolution of a Recipe

At the last meeting of our town quilting club C. brought a delicious, moist loaf cake. It was fairly dark, had raisins in it, and tasted lightly of orange. It was a big hit! We all wanted the recipe. So when we held our planning meeting for this coming season, she brought copies of the recipe to share.

The first time I try a new recipe, I do just what it says: all the same ingredients, measurements, etc. It turned out just fine. The Dear One was quite enthusiastic about it, and the whole loaf disappeared in no time.

Here's the original recipe:
Blender Orange Loaf
1 large orange, unpeeled
3/4 cup of boiling water
1 egg
1/2 cup oil
2 cups flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
3/4 cup dates or raisins
1/2 cup nuts (optional)

Cut orange into pieces and remove seeds. Put in blender with boiling water and blend until almost smooth. Add eggs and oil. Blend a few seconds more. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and stir well. Add the liquid from blender to the dry ingredients and stir until just blended. Pour into a greased loaf pan, 9 x 5 in. size. Bake at 350 for about 50 minutes.

For the Second Version I used 1/4 cup of oil and 1/4 cup of applesauce; 1 1/2 cups of white flour and 1/2 cup of whole wheat. It turned out wonderful! It also disappeared in a hurry.

Third Version: This time I used 2 oranges to give it a more pronounced orange flavour. That worked. I used all white flour, and the oil I'm using is Canola Oil. I used white sugar this time, and instead of raisins, I used dried cranberries.

So far, this is our favourite version. I didn't use applesauce in it, but I still reduced the oil to 1/4 cup. It's plenty.

The second time I made this Orange/Cranberry loaf I decreased the amount of boiling water, as the loaf was a little soggy in the center.

By Saturday I was finding it hard to keep up with demand so I threw together my Fourth
Version using a prepared brownie square mix for the flour. After all, chocolate and orange go together well, right?

This loaf apparently didn't have enough "stuffing" to keep it together. When I removed the parchment paper after taking it out of the oven, it collapsed! Maybe I should have let it cool for a while first.

But all was not lost. I scooped it (when cooled) into a container and put it in the fridge. I figured it could be dished up in a bowl, not as a slice. And that's what we had for a dessert Sunday evening.

I picked three stalks of fresh rhubarb from the garden and put them, chopped, into a sauce pan with a cup of frozen raspberries, 1/3 cup of sugar and 2 tbs of Minute Tapioca. Boiled the mixture until the rhubarb was soft. This sauce went on top of the chocolate flop and was topped up with a generous scoop of Vanilla Frozen Yogurt.

Now that was a treat!

So here's the Final Version:
Cranberry/Orange Loaf
Process in a blender until quite smooth:
2 oranges, peel and all (pits removed)
1/2 cup boiling water.
Add to blender:
1 egg
1/4 cup of oil. Process a few seconds.
In a large bowl combine:
2 cups of white flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup of white sugar.
Stir blender contents into dry ingredients.
Add 1 cup of dried cranberries.
Pour into a greased 9 x 5 loaf pan (or line with parchment).
Bake at 350ยบ for about 50 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.
The outside will be quite browned, but you have to make sure the loaf is baked all the way through.


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